Team USA at the World Cup is in fourth place in group standings, after tying Italy in yesterday's match, the worst soccer match I've ever watched.
To Recap: We lost to the Czech Republic, 4-0. They then lost to Ghana 2-0. The Czech Republic's loss meant that even if the USA lost to Italy, we would remain in competition.
We did not play well against the Czech Republic. We did play well against Italy in a game that was flawed by egregiously bad calls by a referee, resulting in three red cards and elimination of one goal point.
In the first half, Italian Daniele De Rossi threw an elbow to American Bryan McBride's face which wound up requiring three stitches. McBride, who already has titanium plates in his head, was out for only minutes to stanch the bleeding, then returned to the fray. De Rossi received the first red card of the game, meaning he had to leave play and could not be replaced, so that Italy had ten men on the field to USA's 11.
The first half was also noteworthy for a first goal for Italy, and a second goal for the USA, which was shot into our net by Italian Cristian Zaccardo who was trying to deflect the ball from the goal. USA player Pablo Mastroeni received a red card in the first half for what was ostensibly a late tackle, leaving both teams entering the second half with ten men.
Two minutes after the start of the second half, legendary USA player Eddie Pope received a hotly contested second yellow card, which is the equivalent of a red card. One more player off the field for team USA--the rest of the game was played with a ten-man Italian team, vs. a nine-man USA team.
A late goal by DaMarcus Beasley which gave the US a 2-1 lead was negated by the officials because a US player apparently blocked the goalie during the play.
The USA team played a great game and likely would have won instead of tying, but for the inept officiating. There was a lot of discussion of the officiating of Uruguayan referee Jorge Larrionda who has been embattled for his calls in the past.
For more about this game, go here.
Next World Cup USA game: USA vs. Ghana Thursday at 0955 AM.
[Illustrations of US Goalie Kasey Keller, and USA fans from Voice of America]